"What's Happening to Me?" A Guide to Puberty Info

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THE HONEST YET HUMOROUS GUIDE TO PUBERTY THAT GENERATIONS OF
PARENTS AND KIDS HAVE ENJOYED

 
For more than twenty
years, the bestselling team behind Where Did I Come
From?
 has helped millions of parents, children and young adults
talk about the facts of life in a straightforward yet lighthearted way.
What’s Happening to Me? offers an honest, humorous and
sympathetic explanation of the physical and emotional changes occurring
during adolescence, answering the questions that kids ask most
often.
 
Why is my chest getting bumpy? What's a wet
dream?

What's a period?  Why is my voice acting so
funny?

Why do I get pimples? What's an erection?

Why am I getting hairy? Why is mine not like his?
 

Enough strange and wonderful things happen to all of us during puberty
to fill a book. So here it is - the book that answers some of the big
questions, and explains some of the big changes. One look at the
illustrations will tell you that this is not a dull medical textbook.
But it does present the facts of life during puberty, and it presents
them with honesty, sympathy and a sense of humor.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.18

491 Ratings

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Reviews for "What's Happening to Me?" A Guide to Puberty:

1

February 10, 2015

Not comfortable with this for my 10-year-old girl
I bought this for my 10-year-old daughter on the recommendation of her pediatrician who said it is good to provide books that address the development of girls and boys. However, after reading it, I am sending it back for a few reasons. I'll name two. Firstly, it ties development too closely to certain ages. It has a chart with stages of development that shows that girls who are 8 - 10 have not started developing. My daughter started developing when she was 8 and seeing this chart is likely to make her feel more uncomfortable about developing early. The text mentions that changes can happen earlier or later but the chart speaks loudly for itself. Secondly, the discussion of breast development, addressed to girls, indicates, "...breasts help you look pretty good. Boys and men like them a lot, and quite right too." I am confident that my daughter, who has no interest in boys at the moment, would be horrified to hear that boys like her breasts a lot. And my daughter's breasts are just that, her breasts - not objects to provide pleasure to the boys and men around her. And couldn't the male author have found a female physician to weigh in on menstruation instead of Dr. Earl Cooperman who advises girls to "accept the discomforts of menses (the period) as a small inconvenient fact of life"? I'd like my daughter to develop opinions about her body outside the influence of how boys and men think about it. So, I worry that this book is likely to create rather than alleviate anxiety in my daughter about her developing body. I also feel that, as indicated above, it sometimes provides an outdated male-centric perspective on the female body.
1

April 7, 2016

Not for everyone.
My advice is to always read everything before you give it to your children. This book might be ok for you, but I didn't like it. I teach biology, and thought this book was a little goofy. I was also pretty turned off when "...breasts help you look pretty good. Boys and men like them a lot, and quite right too." showed up in there. Really? I guess at this stage, I would personally lean toward basing kids' knowledge in a more scientific account of what's going on and let my son figure out on his own how he feels about breasts, and down the line, my daughter doesn't need a book that is supposed to be a valuable resource telling her that breasts are there to help her look pretty. I mean - shouldn't we focus on their actual purpose at some point? *ugh
I ended up giving something else to my son to read.
2

October 19, 2007

Not for a 10 year old girl.......or boy
I am not clear on why anyone would think this is appropriate for a 10 year old girl. Obviously, the one review that say's they do not understand why anyone would give out a less than glowing review, does not have children...as stated.

A couple of things that were a little disturbing for a 10 year old...the statement about breasts, "no matter what your breasts look like both boys and men (men????!!!) will be attracted to them and find them perfect"! I put this book away until my daughter is a little older, maybe 12.

A great book for a 9-11 year old girl is the American Girl book "The care and keeping of you". I purchased this at the same time. It is tastefully done and give just the girl facts, without including who is going to like your breasts, masturbation, or talking about how boys get erections, etc.

I think the boys anatomy and things that happen to them is for just a little older than 9-11. As well as if you have a boy, maybe look for a book directed specifically at boys until they are a little older.
1

September 22, 2017

Seriously?
This book is a travesty. My mother read this book to me as a child and I remember even now how uncomfortable I felt seeing the illustrations. As a 30 year old woman I am appalled. This book is shockingly sexist, heteronormative, and outdated. It placates girls’ fears about their changing bodies by telling them their breasts and vaginas - whatever size and shape - are beautiful because they are attractive to men. The only sources the book cites are men, including a male doctor who claims that premenstrual symptoms usually disappear after the first few periods, and usually only last a few days. And apparently tampons are “nice” and most girls can’t feel them. As an actual woman I can tell you none of the above is true for almost every woman I know. The entire attitude of the book is so destructive because it reduces critical questions and biological differences to gendered cliches and tropes. I agree it can be hard to talk to children about puberty, but it is far more harmful to ignore the science and instead try to alleviate the embarrassment many feel during puberty by focusing on the appeal of puberty’s changes to the opposite sex.
1

March 9, 2015

A bit graphic, and encourages masturbation.
Unneccessarily "graphic" cartoons made my 12 year old son, and myself, very uncomfortable. Also, there is a section that encourages masturbation as "normal" and "neccessary" and "fun". Some parents would not agree with this. I include it here so that parents like myself, who believe that this is an unhealthy habit that can turn into an addiction, can make a more educated choice.
3

October 26, 2017

Explicit
This was much more explicit in the pictures than I anticipated. I was told that it was appropriate for a 9yo girl, but I don't think so.
2

October 16, 1999

Pick another book.
Written by the same person who wrote the bestselling "Where Did I Come From?" (see Picture Books), this book has fine content, but fails to appeal to its older target audience. At this point, most children have probably outgrown the laugh-out-loud-about-puberty stage, and would prefer a more earnest, straightforward tack. Try Lynda Madras' titles for boys and girls, or "It's Perfectly Normal."
5

September 16, 2009

Glad It's Still Available!
There is no reason to "fear" this book. Sitting down with one's child and being available for discussion can certainly impart any family or Church values without depriving him/her of the rest of the information -- and a golden opportunity to share/communicate.

I remember discovering this gem in a bookstore when my daughter was entering puberty -- in the very late 1970s ! -- and being so impressed with its ability to convey information in such a non-threatening way. We both felt so comfortable with the presentation -- cartoons and text, in hardcover then.

Now her son is ten-and-a-half and it's time to give him his own copy -- in a package from Grandmom (with Mom's permission)and Amazon that also includes "Where Did I Come From?" and the book by the AMA..."Boys Guide to Becoming a Teen." Bonus: Together they were eligible for free PRIME two-day shipping!

I phoned my grandson the day his books arrived and he VERY profusely thanked me for them. (He had already been questioning all that was going on in his world. I think I've reduced his exasperation just a little.) He'll be sharing them with his friends -- with parental permission all around, of course -- and there will be real information in his pre-teen world to replace the "boys room" misinformation.

(I'm a writer and illustrator -- and I sure wish this book had been MY stroke-of-genius!)
4

Jun 09, 2008

This was a great book - the illustrations were hilarious. I read this book as an awkward preteen who was embarrassed about everything, but the humor of this book really helped me get through awkwardness of puberty. I'm sure some people would be offended by the frankness of the book, but it's not vulgar at all. And kids need to know about this stuff - and this book can help kids not take themselves so seriously.
1

Jan 03, 2018

I didn’t like how it mentioned that a girl’s breasts are for male pleasure. That is not their purpose and not what they are there for. It encourages the sexual objectification of girls and is by no way charming.
5

November 18, 2014

Great book to get started with some intimidating topics
A wonderful book and I'm so glad we bought it for our nine year old son. We did quite a bit of research to pick the best book for him and this seemed to be a perfect fit for what we wanted to discuss and our desired level of openness. We weren't dissapointed and our son has really been enjoying doing some reading and asking us questions. I was worried that it would be outdated but I think it's still a great book on the basics for his age level.
1

April 22, 2018

Out-dated, inappropriate for most preteens, sexist
Perhaps when this book came out it was special in that it addresses girls and boys in one book, which is what I was looking for. I have a nine year old and I want him to know what to expect and feel comfortable with puberty. I am a certified sexuality education facilitator (although I focus on early teens and not preteens). I would never let any of my children see this and I threw it out rather than return it. I think a huge part of it is just that it is outdated. Perhaps when it was written it made sense at that time given the culture and knowledge about things then. I wanted an open, positive book about bodies and sexuality that left room for my child to understand the basics and come to conclusions on his own. However this book would have introduced the concept of masturbation to him and says it is fun and necessary. He may well find that to be true, but I want that to be something he decides. The authors describe women’s bodies in terms of how men like them, rather than as special in and of themselves. Breast are framed as something men like rather than special to whoever’s body that is, a possible source of pleasure for women themselves, and as a way to feed babies. The authors dismiss PMS and talk about the menstral cycle as an inconvenience. There is no room for children who might not be straight. I realize no book will be perfect but this was actively problematic. I would be very careful about buying. Read yourself completely before giving to child
1

February 28, 2017

One Star
Out dated!
3

November 13, 2017

Great book, but needs modern update
I loved this book as an older teen and young adult. Bought it for my nephew, and discovered it is still great, but needs a lot of accompanying discussion. Could really use an update for the modern medical facts of gender and love
3

May 22, 2014

Pretty good, but dated
I guess some reviewers felt this book had too liberal of an attitude towards masturbation. I don’t agree. I think that’s important information for young people.

I do agree that the section on menstruation has a pretty negative slant and could be better. I also take issue with the fact the book doesn’t address same sex attraction. That’s really my biggest complaint, but overall it does have lots of good information and is a good resource.
3

February 7, 2007

Good for a 10 year old
I appreciated that it had enough information without getting too involved with older/more complicated topics. It was cute and easy to read, so it was comfortable for my daughter.
1

April 21, 2015

One Star
this book is for people who beleive in mastrubation and how to handle and also "pro choice"!
1

May 13, 2011

Thought this would be a great book to discuss puberty with my 10 year old, since I loved the authors book about where babies come from. TOTALLY disagreed with the authors on two pages about the big M word. I know everyone had different views on the subject, but the author's view that everyone does it so "let it make you feel good, not guilty" was DEFINITELY not for me and my children.
1

May 14, 2017

This book is horribe
Okay, this book said some weird stuff and at first i got the sample, and the sample only showed the cover and the table of contents! This book sucks. Dont buy it. I feel like this book is a bit stereo typical, based off the things it said..
It also said some other whacky things. It wasnt good
4

December 8, 2017

It's a good book, but it really needs to be updated
It's a good book, but it really needs to be updated. It should include LGBTQ issues and not just cis het realities. Otherwise, I think it's informative and both my kids are always asking me to read sections to them.
4

November 19, 2016

I bought this book to help my 13 year old ...
I bought this book to help my 13 year old son, who has Downs syndrome, understand why his body is changing. We have read it several times, and every time we finish with it, I remind him that if he has any new questions he can bring the book to me and we will talk about them. Though this book is very cartoon heavy in it's illustrations, it has very detailed true-to-life representations of both boys and girls bodies as they are growing. Development is a difficult subject to breach with a child that is not disabled, and for me it was a struggle because I didn't know if he was able to understand the concepts presented in this book. However, I forged ahead, and reading this book opened a dialogue for my son that was really needed. There were a few short sections that I left out of the reading, I thought they were a little over board with the cutesy.
5

Aug 31, 2011

I remember this book clearly, almost to the page! It's been about 20 years since I read it....so it had an impact. Just after having "the talk", my parents gave me the book to consult if I had more questions. I studied every page, giggled over some of them with my cousins, and really got a lot of info from it.
3

May 31, 2008

Bought this for my son when he was that "age" and it became a topic immortalized in family lore. One of those "failed" parental moments. I thought it was good. The kids were mortified and still make fun of me for it. You can't win.
5

Mar 30, 2008

This made talking with my son so much easier. Oh, it just was a godsend. In a gentle and witty matter, it covers all the bases in a manner that any young adult will find reassuring.
0

Jul 11, 2018

John says this book "is full of hilarious and on-the-nose artwork and facts about always silly, often embarrassing universal experience that is puberty. From acne and smells to a whole page of how boobs can be totally different shapes, it made adolescents everywhere feel more comfortable in their skins while going through what might be the weirdest part of life. In the age before youtube, books like this were truly special."

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